Tag Archives: NIBBNEWS

IB Catalyst Update: No more rounds to be funded at present


“The funders have no immediate plans for a further round of IB Catalyst beyond the projects announced today. This is following a review of individual Delivery Plans and budget allocations. The first four rounds of Catalyst funding will be reviewed as they progress, and the funders remain committed to supporting the development of the UK industrial biotechnology sector while future funding for the Catalyst is explored.”

I realise this announcement will be a disappointment; BBSRC remains committed to supporting Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy research and continues to see the Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy as an essential route to do this.

The Research Councils and InnovateUK remain committed to supporting those working in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy and applications are welcomed through the normal channels and upcoming opportunities including:


BBSRC Delivery Plan 2016-2020 Launched – IB Catalyst update

BBSRC Delivery Plan 2016-2020 Launched

BBSRC plans are centred on five outcome-focused themes that will guide our investments and actions over the period:

• Driving bioscience discovery – advancing the boundaries of knowledge and upholding the UK’s global leadership in bioscience

• Building a more resilient and secure future – promoting bioscience research that addresses strategic societal challenges, scientific opportunities and economic growth in the UK and beyond

• Transforming and creating bio-based businesses – using bioscience research to enhance productivity, transform businesses and create new market opportunities

• Growing and attracting talent – investing in skilled people for the research base, and building capability in the UK workforce

• Strengthening the UK’s position as a global partner – capitalising on UK bioscience research strengths and strong international links to foster collaborations and enhance contributions to international development

For Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy:

• work with partners (EPSRC, Innovate UK, CPI3 , European funding agencies and business), to enable the exploitation of biological systems to generate a range of products including high-value and fine chemicals, biopharmaceuticals and fuels, from different feedstocks including wastes and residues through the application of genomic, systems and synthetic biology approaches

• further build upon the success of the Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy to explore broader applications in materials, chemicals and energy for sustainable manufacturing

• progress the concept of the biorefinery by advancing research and bringing together the component parts through joint working with EPSRC, Innovate UK, CPI, European and other international funding agencies (e.g. FAPESP)

The Research Councils are not yet in a position to make an announcement on the future of the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst scheme. The Research Councils are working through the implications of their allocations from the comprehensive spending review and will be able to provide an update on the IB Catalyst following the publication of delivery plans – due in the next months.

In the meantime, the Research Councils remain committed to supporting academics working in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy and applications are welcomed through the normal channels and upcoming opportunities including:

Read the full BBSRC delivery plan here.

£3.8M grant for CBMNet Director Dr Gavin Thomas

Lead by CBMNet Director Dr Gavin Thomas, the CBMNet Management Board have been successfully awarded an Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst Early Stage Translation grant worth £3.8M.

The project ‘DeTOX’ will investigate productive whole cell biocatalysis by engineering resistance to toxic products and substrates.

Product toxicity is a major problem for many IBBE processes involving production of small molecules by living cells. Toxicity causes yield restrictions & cell lysis, & frequently affects the commercial viability of biomanufacturing. Likewise, small molecules in lignocellulosic feedstocks inhibit bacterial fermentations & ultimately depress product yields. In this CBMNet NIBB-led bid, a team of scientists from four Universities apply their fundamental expertise in systems & synthetic biology & membrane function, to engineer increased resistance to small molecules in the industrially relevant bacteria, E. coli & solventogenic Clostridia. Our innovation is to translate BBSRC-funded research in microbial stress responses, membrane structure & membrane transporters, into the development & commercialisation of innovative applications in IBBE by our 5 commercial partners. A key project output will be a commercial chassis strain, DeTox, with generally increased chemical resistance.

This project is a direct output from and is led by the management board of the BBSRC Crossing Biological Membrane  NIBB, Gavin H. Thomas, Gill Stephens, David J. Kelly, Jeff Green & Susan Molyneux-Hodgson & industrial partners Preben Krabben (Green Biologics Ltd) & Graham Eastham (Lucite). Through initial board meetings, the need for this project was identified & prioritized by the industrial partners.

To provide the full range of expertise for this work we have recruited Kathryn Lilley , who runs the Centre for Proteomics at the University of Cambridge, Tony Larson , in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, York, an expert in lipidomics & Boyan Bonev, a biophysicist with NMR expertise, will investigate membrane structure & organization, to bring fundamentally new approaches to the IBBE area. We have identified three additional industrial collaborators namely Ian Archer (Ingenza), Ian Tebble (Rebio) & Jeremy Jentys (CPI) through CBMNet (which currently is the largest of all the BBSRC NIBBs with >600 members & 150 from industry). 

IB Catalyst programme: Round 5 postponed

The Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst programme, funded by Innovate UK, BBSRC and EPSRC, has been temporarily postponed awaiting the outcome of the comprehensive spending review.

Industrial biotechnology remains a priority for the three funders who continue to support it through other channels. Once the funders have confirmed budgets beyond 2015/16 we will agree how to take the IB Catalyst programme forward.

IB Catalyst rounds 1 – 3 report published: Highest success rates for academic- industry collbaorations

This document provides a brief description of the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst mechanism, through which Innovate UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council fund industrial biotechnology innovations within the UK.

Detailed herein:

  • What the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst aims to achieve
  • The scope of this mechanism
  • The funding streams that are available
  • An analysis of applications in rounds 1, 2 and 3
  • A list of funded grants from rounds 1, 2 and 3

Read the about the ib-catalysts-funded-grants here.

September 2015: NIBB Activities Update

In 2013-14, BBSRC, with support from EPSRC, committed £18M to fund 13 unique collaborative Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB). The BBSRC NIBB launched in January 2014.
The BBSRC NIBB are fostering collaborations between academia, industry, policy makers and NGOs in order to find new approaches to tackle research challenges, translate research and deliver key benefits in IBBE.

Each network has a particular focus area, mainly within the UK, but with interest to build international links. These multidisciplinary networks will drive new ideas to harness the potential of biological resources for producing and processing materials, biopharmaceuticals, chemicals and energy. The Networks provide Proof of Concept funding, Business Interaction Vouchers and are open to new members.

Up to the end of June 2015, the BBSRC NIBB collectively represent approximately 1750 UK based academic members and have engaged with 428 companies.

Read the full report here.